A French newspaper said that luxury goods group LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and South African diamond giant De Beers were close to announcing a joint venture to market branded diamond jewelry. La Tribune financial daily, in which LVMH owns a stake, quoted sources close to the deal as saying the joint venture would be announced today in London. However, a spokesman for De Beers said there would be no news conference and said the company had no comment. An LVMH spokeswoman said she did not know of plans for a joint news conference with De Beers and declined further comment. La Tribune said the proposed deal was part of efforts by De Beers to adapt to changes in the gem market, where it controls 60%. For LVMH, best known for luxury handbags and champagne, the joint venture would offer it a chance to strengthen its position in the jewelry market.